Forced to Slow Down

My forced slow down continues, but I’m on the recovery path with my broken foot. I hit a much-needed milestone this week. I can now drive. Short distances, mind you, but it’s a step in the right direction. Of course, I pushed my limits early in the week and had to slow back down as my foot complained. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

One thing I’ve noticed as I spent the last month (!) as an observer instead of major participant in the running of our household is how much the kids have been affected by the shifts in our routine. I already knew they needed routine to feel safe, but it’s different when you observe it happening. At a time when we needed cooperation most, they became more difficult. This week, I’ve seen occasional improvements, but in small doses.

Amari seems to be pushing back against the changes by whining. A. LOT. We’re talking multiple meltdowns in the hour between getting up and going to school, and then a repeat of this in the hours after school until bedtime. Luckily, this isn’t happening at school. I wish I knew what was going on in his head.  I’m sure there’s some worry that he can’t express to us driving him to these actions.

When he keeps whining, we get frustrated, and our patience runs thin. And that brings Victoria into the picture. She starts yelling at everyone. We’re already dealing with the adolescent onset of negative attitudes and tones from her, but she’s taking it to a whole new level. The weird thing is she sounds like she’s mad at us, and we’re just trying to get everyone moving and on track toward school or bedtime. She told me this morning, she’s not mad at us, she’s mad at her brother. Great. We’ve asked her to stay out of things because it makes it worst, but I feel like we’re talking to a wall.

Since I’m stuck working from home, I often spend some time after they leave sitting quietly. I need to get my heart and mind in a good place before I tackle anything else. First, I pray for their day, the safety of our schools, and any other issues I want to discuss with God. I’ve been better at really focusing on this in the past month. Then, most mornings, I listen to my Bible app while I sip on my tea. If a particular scripture intrigues me, I listen to different Bible versions of it while I get ready for the day. It does help, and I eventually come back down to earth.

Your word is a lamp for my feet,
    a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105

 

Before I dive into my paid work, I create images like the lantern one above and post them on social media. These seem to be a result of the time I’m spending in prayer and scripture. The response to my posts tells me people need these inspirations during their day, too. I’m doing them for me, but it’s nice to know they’re impacting others.

There’s a lot I’m seeing and trying to understand these days. The situation has forced me to observe. Even though I can’t act on most of what I’m observing, my gut is telling me that I need to pay attention to the clues. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find some answers or gain some insight during this time. I’m frustrated, but I’m trying to make good use of my enforced rest.

What about you? Have you ever been forced to slow down? What did you learn?

 

When Called To A Difficult Purpose

Image courtesy of Freeimages.com/gc85

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

Over the last few weeks (aka since school started), I’ve been ill. We didn’t make it through the first week of school without one of the kids catching something and sharing it with the rest of us.

Four weeks later, I’m still sick but with something else. When your immunity is down, it’s easy to get sick. I’ve had one or two decent days and one really good day in four weeks. This past Wednesday, I felt normal. Yet, as I went to bed that night, I knew my good day was over. After a night of very  little sleep, I went back to the doctor.

Why am I telling you this? Because people don’t get what grandparenting (being a grandparent raising grandchildren) does to us. I wrote about this  last week and heard from several grandparents in the same boat. They thanked me for saying what I did.

I’m guessing some readers, found my bluntness a bit uncomfortable. That’s ok. I’m not attacking or blaming people. I’m trying to create an understanding for the 2.5 million grandparents in my shoes. We are a growing population.

We do what we do for love. We trust in God to help us, but it’s terrifying to look at our retirement and realize we planned to support two adults, not to raise more children.

O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. Psalm 71:17-18

That is what He’s asked us to do, to proclaim Him to another generation of children. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why He chose us to do it in this way, but He did. But herein lies the problem: my sickness.

As my illness continues, I’ve become weak and exhausted. At a time when income becomes most important, the circumstances make it hard to maintain that income. I would love to retire and focus completely on my writing and the grandchildren (not just the two who live with us), but I’m not retirement age, and I’ll probably have to work longer than I originally planned in order to make sure we survive.

And we’re the lucky ones. Most grandparents who are raising grandchildren, live below the poverty line.

We do have the Bible verses like those in this post to encourage us, and for those of us whose faith already sustained us through many trials, our faith brings  comfort. But we’re human and struggling. In the moment it’s hard to remember to turn to God. That’s probably why my last post came across strong to some people. I’m not apologizing for that. It’s important to help people understand the struggles other people experience. You can’t do that by sugar-coating the truth.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

This is the main purpose of this blog: helping people understand the struggles of others as well as revealing how my struggles built my faith in God.

Will you take a moment today to stop and pray for the grandparents and grandchildren in this situation? It’s not easy, and we need your support.

Are you a grandparent raising grandchildren? What’s your biggest struggle? I want to hear from you! If you’re a grandchild who was raised by a grandparent, I’d love to hear from you, too.

How Do We Stop the Violence?

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Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot/freedigitalphotos.net

By now, you have heard of the school shooting in Townville, SC. That is not far from where I live.

I’ve shared with you my morning prayer for loved ones who attend or work in schools. It hasn’t changed. I still pray it every single day.

But we need more to heal our country’s wounds.

Why does this keep happening?

Our country’s steady, fast-moving drift from faith has created an environment for violence. There was a time when children grew up aware of the sanctity of life, taught to respect others whether you liked them or not. Taught that God made man in His own image, and life was precious.

That way of life is gone.

People who claim faith and spew hatred are not Christians. Satan finds them and exploits them. People who have turned from, or never knew, faith provide an ever-widening field of weapons for Satan’s arsenal.

Satan is real and he attacks where he can.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  I Peter 5:8

Have we, as a country, traveled too far from our faith, from our beliefs, that we can’t go back? I don’t know. I don’t have the answer.

How about you? How do we fix this?

Please share your thoughts in the comments. I’m inviting a discussion , one that provides insight and ideas, not accusations and hatred. Even if your idea seems small, it doesn’t matter. One person can make a difference.

How do we stop the violence?